Apple has been criticised for only updating the iPhone gradually each year

After launching iPad mini, Apple is expected to bring in a smaller and cheaper iPhone variant 'iPhone mini' by early 2014.

"We think Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,"  Neil Mawston, executive director in the technology market research firm Strategy Analytics, told Reuters

"The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an 'iPhone Mini' this year. We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when ... Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams," he added.

Many technology analysts believe that the only possible way for Cupertino giant to gain a formidable foothold in the global smartphone market from its arch-rival Samsung is to bring in more segments into its flagship iPhone line-up.

Samsung's dominance in the global smartphone market can be attributed to its versatility of bringing in more variants to match different budget needs of the consumers.

Apple used to dominate the American smartphone market while Steve Jobs was at the helm of the company's affair but after his demise, the Cupertino giant seemed to have lost some sheen. Apple is no more a leader of smartphone market in US.

According to latest results from the market research firm ComScore survey, Samsung has the largest share in the market with 26.9 percent. Apple comes a distant second with 18.5 percent, followed closely by another South Korean company, LG with 17.5 percent share in the US smartphone market.

In 2013, Apple has an uphill task of regaining US smartphone market as well as to penetrate more into the emerging markets of India and China.

Recently, Apple was in the news that it is planning to bring in the next generation iPhone with multiple colours this year.

(With Inputs from Reuters)